One morning in February 2015, I felt a rumble. It was an explosion at the ExxonMobil oil refinery a few miles away, in a densely populated area of Torrance, Calif.
ExxonMobil officials insisted people were never at risk, but as we found out later, the explosion was a near catastrophe. It sent a 40-ton piece of equipment flying and landing only 3 feet away from a tank storing modified hydrofluoric acid (MHF), a deadly chemical that can eat right through bones. If that tank had been punctured, it would have released a toxic cloud that could have drifted 15 miles from the refinery, sickening and killing hundreds of thousands of people in Los Angeles County.
The refinery has since been sold and its name's been changed to the Torrance Refinery, but MHF continues to be stored there. There are much safer alternatives available, such as sulfuric acid, which is used at all other California refineries with the exception of the Valero Refinery in Wilmington.
For the safety of over a third of a million people, MHF needs to be banned at California refineries. Please sign and share this petition urging lawmakers to do so.
UPDATE: ANOTHER EXPLOSION IN FEBRUARY 2017!
On Feb. 18, 2017 -- the second anniversary of the 2015 explosion -- there was yet another explosion and fire at the Torrance Refinery. Even more reason why MHF needs to be banned now!
I am writing to urge you to ban the use of highly toxic modified hydrofluoric acid (MHF) at the Torrance Refinery and the Valero Refinery in Wilmington, the only two refineries in the state that continue to use this deadly chemical.
The near-catastrophic February 2015 explosion at what was then the ExxonMobil refinery in Torrance sent a 40-ton piece of equipment flying and landing three feet from an MHF storage tank. If that tank had been punctured, it would have released a deadly cloud that could have drifted 15 miles, sickening and killing hundreds of thousands of people in Los Angeles County.
Such a highly toxic chemical does not belong in a refinery located in the middle of a densely populated residential area. Please help keep people safe by banning MHF in California refineries.